January 2023

by Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Hi NRWA friends! I thought this meme was funny as we head into the New Year.

Nobody claim 2023 as
Amanda Brandon

Amanda Brandon

In all seriousness, I hope you are blessed in your career and personal lives in 2023.

This year marks a fun milestone for me—20 years as an editor! I wanted to be a newspaper columnist since I could read the newspapers my parents delivered every morning for 20 years! I started my first editor job in January 2003 and have served as an editor for some publication each year since then.

I loved Ann Landers’ column and I wondered for years how a person became an advice columnist. I also wondered how you became a syndicated columnist. Well, the world sure has changed since I put on those rose-colored glasses. It seems that everyone is an advice columnist on social media.

That’s why I love that newsletters are still important. I feel like they are the human element of an organization. Thank you for trusting me with our publication. I genuinely love writing and editing it each month.

In this issue, we have a real treat for you!

  • First up, I interviewed Louise Kursmark, author of multiple resume books on two new projects with LOTS of NRWA members’ work featured. The third edition of Modernize Your Resume just launched, and the new Modernize Your Career: Resume & LinkedIn Strategies for New College Graduates comes out in March.
  • In What’s Saving My Life This Month, I reached out to our Facebook community and asked what everyone’s ONE focus is for January. Take a look at some of the feedback if you need some ideas. I’m with Dan on getting to some marketing ideas that I’ve been putting on the back burner.
  • In Perspective, Eustacia discusses an overlooked part of the diversity discussion—diversity of thought. It’s an interesting read and makes me want to ensure I give examples of diverse thought processes in my clients’ resumes.
  • The NCRW Certification Commission is sharing some updates toThe NCRW Study Guide.

I’d love to hear your feedback on our newsletter and how I can make it more actionable and valuable. As always, if you have ideas, want to contribute, or be added to the member spotlight list, please drop me a line at newsletter@thenrwa.org.

Thanks for reading!

In This Issue:

What’s Saving My Life This Month?
By Amanda Brandon, NCOPE - NRWA Newsletter Editor

I reached out to our brilliant Facebook community to find out what our members will focus on in the first month of 2023. Great advice and ideas! Here’s what several members shared.

1. “I’ll be focusing on building my marketing infrastructure via web content and downloadable lead magnets. I have 100 ideas, but they always keep falling to the back of the to-do list!” ~Dan Shortridge, NCRW, Dover, DE, Linkedin.com/in/danshortridge

2. “In January (and beyond), I plan to focus on being more active in our line of work. Although I have 17+ years in our field, I have not spent enough time networking, attending events, and interacting with professionals. I aim to connect, network, and broaden my reach.” ~Danielle Powelson, CPRW, Williston, ND, Linkedin.com/in/dpowelson

3. “I do NO social media whatsoever, but I intend to change that. That’s why I’ve enrolled in some self-paced webinars (through a monthly subscription) – including “How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel from Scratch” and “LinkedIn for Business.” ~Marian Bernard, CPRW, CEIP, CJSS, NCOPE, Ontario, CN, Linkedin.com/in/marianbernardcertifiedprofessionalresumewriter/

4. “January is the month of new beginnings, reflections, and action plans. As a business owner, it is time for a seasonal tweak in service offerings on my calendar. I will focus on providing more flexibility in my calendar for career transition coaching and inserting nonnegotiable self-care time.” Gayle Draper, Collingwood, CN, LinkedIn.com/in/gayledraperchrl

Thanks for sharing with us! Got a tip for “What’s Saving My Life?” Send it to newsletter@thenrwa.org.

Feature Article: Interview with Author Louise Kursmark 
by Amanda Brandon, NCOPE – NRWA Newsletter Editor

Editor’s Note: I sat down with Louise Kursmark for an interview around Thanksgiving after I saw many of my LinkedIn connections sharing that they’d been featured in the updated Modernize Your Career series and upcoming Resume & LinkedIn Strategies for New College Graduates. This book series is a frequent reach on my personal writing desk.

I also learned that Louise and Wendy Enelow just released an updated version of Modernize Your Resume: Get Noticed…Get Hired. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring you an inside look at what goes into a book like this. Enjoy!

Louise Kursmark

Louise Kursmark

Congratulations to the NRWA members featured in the upcoming Modernize Your Career titles: Resume & LinkedIn Strategies for New College Graduates and Modernize Your Resume, Third Edition:

NRWA: Why did you write these books?

LK: The principal audience for our books is job seekers. Many will not hire a resume writer, so we write these books to help them be more fluent in writing their resumes and managing their careers.

I don’t worry about [the books] cutting into our market as professional resume writers. There is a huge need for our services, and what we provide is incredibly valuable. But the books help to create a benchmark for what makes a good resume. And, of course, we know that many resume writers use our books as resources, so we want to be sharing the best practices and best examples to help our colleagues as well as the general public.

Each book in the Modernize Your Career series has a slightly different focus. The upcoming book for New College Graduates is written a bit differently, with more step-by-step instructions for every part of the job-seeking process from resumes and LinkedIn to letters, job search practices, and interviewing. We’re assuming a broader range of readers with more experience in the Modernize Your Resume book—that they have some understanding. We explain the why and how and give job seekers confidence.

NRWA: What can resume writers gain from your books?

LK: I’ve been a resume writer for a long time, and I still I find value in seeing how others do things. I get ideas from others’ work. It keeps my creativity alive. I expect that many writers can gain similar value from the books.

NRWA: How did you get started as a resume writer?

LK: I started doing secretarial services to work from home. I’ve always been a good writer, but I never knew I could make a living from it. (I should have consulted a career coach!) People were asking me to edit and write, and over time I shifted entirely to resume and career services. I learned the craft by doing, serving, attending training and conferences, reading books, listening to my clients, and refining it all into my own style.

NRWA: What does your business look like today?

LK: I’ve been in business since 1982, but I don’t have a high-volume practice. I probably take four new clients per month along with regular updates from past clients.

I’m not a career coach; I’m a writer. I love the writing and strategy that’s involved in creating a resume. I enjoy positioning my clients and building their professional narratives. The vast majority of my clients are senior executives—more specifically, executives who know what they want and where they want to go.

Most, if not all, of my business comes from referrals. Quite often my executive clients will ask me to work with their college-graduating children. I really like working with new graduates. They’re ambitious and hardworking. It makes me hopeful for the future generation.

NRWA: What’s the most interesting resume you’ve written?

LK: One of the most interesting was my first board of directors candidate, a European senior executive who was extremely accomplished and very fascinating. I had fun positioning him for board opportunities, and I enjoyed the challenge of doing something new and a bit different.

Another was my son. He was trying to get into a competitive major in college, and I was wracking my brain to come up with accomplishments because he didn’t do anything in high school except play in a garage band! I ended up using his band experience as the value in his resume. He got into the program (thank goodness), and he’s been really successful as a U/X designer since graduation.

NRWA: Why would you suggest a writer join a professional organization like the NRWA?

LK: We have to always be learning. If we’re stagnant, our work will reflect that. Take advantage of having a group of colleagues to relate with, ask for advice, and share your struggles and successes. Our industry feels unique in that we share freely and don’t feel like we’re competing.

NRWA: How do you select submissions for your resume books?

LK: We do a mass invitation to submit resume samples. Our evaluation questions: Does it look good? Is it diverse in style? Does it fit our topic?

I then go through and proofread the resumes and have editorial license to change some elements for the book. I will sometimes change a name or gender to ensure a diversity of samples. I might add design elements. I want the samples to look as good as possible. Because it is published in black and white, the glorious colors used by the writers won’t be visible. However, most of the edits are quite minor. I want the samples to showcase the different writers’ skills and strategies.

If anyone is interested in hearing about future publishing opportunities and has NOT received past appeals, email Louise@LouiseKursmark.com to be added to the distribution list.

NRWA: How did you get started in writing resume books? What professional gain have you experienced from it?

LK: Way back when Jan Melnik (my co-author for Expert Resume & LinkedIn Strategies for New College Graduates) was writing a book on how to start a resume business. She recommended me to her editor, and I wrote my first book about running a home-based business. Later, at an industry conference I met an editor from the former JIST publishing company and proposed my first resume book: Sales & Marketing Resumes. I kept writing book proposals and kept writing books. I absolutely love the process—I would do it full-time if it paid well enough. (Writing resumes is much more lucrative.)

The main benefit of writing books is that it positions you as an authority and helps you gain more frequent speaking and training opportunities. You become better-known in the industry. However, writing a book should be a passion project. You also need to be prepared to market the book. I’ve worked with publishers in the past, and now Wendy Enelow and I have a self-publishing company and do the marketing ourselves.

NRWA: How can a professional resume writer build their audience?

LK: I think libraries are an incredible resource. Propose a program there – where you teach people how to write a resume. Consider what are the local needs and just ask.

NRWA: What other resources do you offer resume writers and job seekers?

LK: We have an entire book on writing for executives in the Modernize Your Career series. It’s called Modernize Your Executive Job Search. In addition to resumes, the guide features examples of LinkedIn profiles, bios, cover letters, and board resumes and a detailed guide to conducting an executive job search.

Another tool is the Modernize Your Job Search Letters. This guide gives you many examples of e-notes, cover letters, recruiter letters, networking letters, thank-you letters, job proposal letters, and letters for challenging circumstances

NRWA: Where can we find your books?

LK: Our books are available in many local bookstores and online at traditional booksellers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Also, quite likely at your local library! We also have a website, EmeraldCareerPublishing.com, where we sell digital and print copies of our entire catalog.

Perspective: Diversity of Thought 
By Eustacia A. English - NRWA DEI Columnist

Happy New Year! I'm writing this in December, reflecting on 2022 and thinking about what's coming in 2023. As I reflect on the past year, I think of diversity, particularly the diversity of thought in the workplace. Too often, I see people holding back their thoughts and not commenting for whatever reason. As I sit here, I think of what I would like to see collectively in the workplace in the new year.

Eustacia English

Eustacia English

If you stop to think about it, the typical meeting or event is a haven for conformity and group thinking. According to studies, conversations at events and meetings often center on a small number of people discussing the same topics, with the talking points of the most senior individuals present. Let's try to reconsider how we handle meetings and events in 2023.

In my opinion, the best meetings and events concentrate more on the ideas that people can contribute than on the identity or stature of their sources. Allowing anonymity during brainstorming sessions is one of the best ways to do this because it allows for the evaluation of ideas to be based only on their merits rather than being limited by conformity.

In 2023, let's open the door to fresh thinking and honest dialogue. It's important to create cultures in your organizations that allow everyone to benefit from the full range of perspectives and skills. We often characterize a diverse group in terms of race and gender. However, it's important to encourage racial and gender diversity and inclusion at meetings and events, but these are just the beginning of what a truly diverse group means.

Different people have various viewpoints and ways of thinking. Everybody has encountered various influences throughout their lives. Smart leaders know that if they want to build, grow, and retain good teams, they need to use cognitive diversity, which is a mix of different ideas and experiences. This is the only way to effectively promote diversity and an inclusive culture.

If everyone in the room is an analytical thinker, you may have a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, but you won't get the creative abrasion that comes from combining risk-takers, brainstormers, and analytical thinkers. Better outcomes occur when different ways of thinking are brought together.

Here are some techniques to help ensure your organization encompasses diverse thinking styles, even though you might not be able to spot them right away.

1. Break down the silos. Establish interdisciplinary teams to promote varied thinking. You get better results when many different people look at a problem from many different angles. Each person's contribution is valuable, and when silos between teams are broken, great ideas result.

2. Analyze thinking styles. I fully support using personality tests like Myers-Briggs or Insights to distinguish between various thinking styles on teams. I have completed and administered these assessments over the years, giving you opportunities to put like-minded individuals together to foster more creative thoughts. Collaborations improve because people are better aware of the value that others can bring to problem-solving.

3. If your team lacks diversity in ideas, employ varied thinking tactics to fill in the gaps. Teams with similar thinking styles frequently arrive at the same solution quickly. When you add in varied thinking tactics, they must determine if they are examining all their options when asked to select the next best answer. Research suggests that teams approach issues from four distinct viewpoints: data and analysis, the human element, major ideas, and deadlines to meet. It's a terrific method to encourage individuals to think critically and outside their comfort zone.

4. Encourage everyone to speak up. No matter how accurate the assessment, it won't work if leaders don't value all thinking styles and allow everyone a chance to contribute. Leaders must encourage all viewpoints and ideas to create a space where everyone can feel heard and respected.

Diversity of thought is significant for decision-making because it introduces diverse perspectives. According to recent studies, diversity of thought can lead to higher revenues, more innovation, and lower turnover rates.

But remember, skin color and gender aren't the only measures to consider when building a diverse organization. If business leaders want to leverage the full financial benefits of creating diverse organizations, they also need to seek out diversity of thought.

Eustacia English writes the Perspective column, which examines Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in resume writing and career strategy. She is a 20-year HR and talent acquisition veteran and started Resumes on Demand last year. She also writes on DEI for The Black in HR e-zine. She lives with her husband and two children in Cherry Hill, NJ. Find her online at LinkedIn.com/in/eustacia.

The NCRW Corner: Updates to the NCRW Study Guide 
Tips from the NCRW Certification Commission

Editor’s Note: We will review essential sections from the NCRW Study Guide for the next several months. Members can access this guide for free at this link.

We’re starting the New Year with an update to The NCRW Study Guide!

The Certification Commission reviews new information and best practices pertaining to writing resumes all year long, keeping a list which we discuss at our quarterly meetings. There weren’t many items on the list in 2022, but we have made some changes to the updated version of the Study Guide (available here). Here are highlights:

1. Revamped letterhead section (page 20) to incorporate changes and better explain our thoughts.

We addressed two best practices:

  • For many years, resume writers have agreed that the client’s street address shouldn’t be included on the resume.
  • As a general rule, we omit the http:// part of a web address and do not include guide words (i.e., email, phone number).

When reviewing samples, we see letterheads that aren’t as eye catching as they could be, so we rewrote our guidance on layout and design of this important section of the resume.

2. Advice on verb redundancies in the “Accomplishments and Contributions” section under Professional Experience (page 14).

We added just three words to this section, but if you pay attention to these words, your resumes will be much more powerful: “Avoid verb redundancies.” Very often, on samples and tests, we see words like “develop,” “deliver,” or “manage” used multiple times. Using a variety of verbs will make your resumes more interesting.

3. Best practices on personal pronouns in the ATS section (page 30).

In the ATS section, we added the recommendation not to include preferred personal pronouns (he/his; she/her; they/them) after the client’s name at the top of the resume.

We encourage everyone to spend some time reading the Study Guide. We guarantee you will pick up tips that will improve your resume writing.

If you have a question that you want answered by the graders, please email newsletter@thenrwa.org. 

New & Renewing Members 

Welcome to our new and renewing members for the month of December 2022! 
Click here to view the full list.

By the numbers for the month of December:

  • 16 new members.
  • 29 renewing members.
  • 3 new members from Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska.
  • 3 renewing members from Ohio.
  • 2 renewing members who previously served as President of the NRWA Board of Directors.
Feel free to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself via our members-only networking forums:
You can find colleagues in your area by searching here
Not yet a member of the NRWA? Click here to join!


electronic learning

The NRWA offers live and on-demand webinars, a self-paced Resume Writing 101 course, teleseminars, and more opportunities for learning throughout the year.


Certification Programs 

NCRW - Nationally Certified Resume Writer
NCOPE - Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert

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